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Job Description

Air Traffic Controllers control the air traffic to ensure the safety of aircraft and their passengers. They will ensure that the aircraft takes off and lands on time and will use highly sophisticated radar and radio communication to communicate information, instructions and advice to the pilots.  Air Traffic Controllers work in public airports, private airfields and for the military.

Entry Requirements

You can get this job through:


You could do an air traffic controller higher apprenticeship.

You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.

Trainee Scheme

You can apply for a place as a trainee with National Air Traffic Services.

You'll need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent qualifications, including English and maths.

You'll be expected to relocate to Fareham in Hampshire while training. Once you qualify, you could work anywhere in the UK.

Initial training takes up to 1 year and further training may continue while working.

You may also be considered for training if you have relevant aviation experience as a military air traffic controller, or military or commercial pilot.

Restrictions and Requirements 

You'll need to:

You should be eligible to work in the UK and must be prepared to work anywhere in the UK.

Career Tips

You can find out more about becoming an air traffic controller from National Air Traffic Services and the RAF.

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you could move into training and assessing new controllers, or become a supervisor or unit manager.

You could also move into operations management.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Air cabin crew
  • Airline pilot
  • Helicopter pilot

Required Skills

  • Able to keep calm under pressure
  • Excellent concentration levels
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to give clear concise instructions
  • Emotionally stable
  • Good maths skills
  • The ability to interpret information quickly and act accordingly
  • Responsible
  • Good with technology

Salary Range

£17,000 to £50,000

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